Sgt. Kaila Sullivan of Friendswood, Texas, was killed in the line of duty on Tuesday, December 10, while assisting with an arrest in the Clear Lake Area, according to a police report. Sullivan, who was 43 when she passed, had served the Nassau Bay Police Department (NBPD) for nearly sixteen years.
Sullivan’s death attracted nationwide attention from the major media outlets, including an online tribute by People magazine. However, most of the stories failed to mention that Sullivan and her wife were part of the LGBTQ community.
On December 12, Sullivan’s wife, Tracey, wrote a touching Facebook post dedicated to Kaila. It has since gone viral, garnering over 50,000 likes and 24,000 shares. “This was one of the last photos I took of my wife in her uniform while she was getting ready for work to do what she loved. She got up early that day to just spend time with me and have a little date. We went out on a motorcycle ride together and had a nice lunch together. We did little things like that very often.
“Rest assured that she loved what she did, which was to serve and protect,” Tracey continued. “She gave the ultimate sacrifice not for a job, but for what she believed in . . . justice.”
A public funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday, December 18, at 10 a.m. at Grace Church Houston, a non-denominational church located at 14505 Gulf Freeway in the Friendswood area. Local news outlets Click 2 Houston, KHOU, ABC13, and FOX26 will also live stream the service online.
The Community Responds
In addition to the thousands of positive comments Tracey received on her Facebook post, folks from across the Greater Houston area showed their support in various ways. Flowers quickly arrived to honor the fallen sergeant, and were placed by the flagpoles in front of Nassau Bay City Hall.
Calling Sullivan a “hero,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said her death is “just another grim reminder of the dangerous job of a police officer out there protecting our streets.”
“This is a nightmare scenario for our city,” Nassau Bay Mayor Mark Denman said at a news conference.
Out Houston Police Department senior police officer Ann Waltman commented on the tragedy: “On behalf of myself and the Houston Law Enforcement Alliance of Pride, an LGBTQ group of law-enforcement officers, we acknowledge the service and sacrifice made by Nassau Bay Police Sgt. Kaila Sullivan while protecting her community. Her tragic death reminds all of us in uniform that really the smallest of tasks, including a traffic stop, can result in loss of life. Sgt. Sullivan leaves behind a loving and supportive wife and son. Our hearts mourn with them.” A representative from the Alliance will be attending the funeral.
Sullivan was national president of the Sisters Eternal Women’s Motorcycle Club. Their Texas chapter posted on Facebook: “Kaila “Lucky” Sullivan was a natural leader, both at work and in the motorcycle-club community. She was wise beyond her years and we all wish we had more time with her. She is already sorely missed.” Members of the club will ride together in Sullivan’s funeral procession.
“[Kaila] was truly loved by all she met,” Tracey wrote on Facebook. “I appreciate all the texts, phone calls, visits, and posts. The vigil that the Nassau Bay community showed last night was yet another example of how she loved people, and how they loved her back.”
Sullivan leaves behind her wife, Tracey, her son, Kaden, and many friends.
“For the fellow law-enforcement officers, know that she was dedicated to each of you,” Tracey wrote. “She was a loving mother to Kaden, a loving wife to me, and she loved her family and friends. She loved her motorcycle sisters and community. She loved the great outdoors and loved camping and hiking. She played the guitar and loved to sing. She thought her voice wasn’t all that great, but it was truly the voice of an angel. I could listen to her play and sing to me for hours!!!”
Sullivan continued: “This is one of the toughest times of our lives. I say our because it doesn’t just affect Kaden and myself, it affects everyone that was lucky enough to know her. Her family and close friends have spent time reminiscing about her life, which brings a little peace to each of us.
“Please hold your loved ones tight. Love them every day and share that love with others. Let love spread throughout the world! Please continue to send your prayers up for all of us, especially all of the brothers and sisters in blue.”
A Traffic Stop Turns Deadly
The NBPD media office posted an account of Sullivan’s fatal traffic stop on December 10: “Nassau Bay police officers made a traffic stop in the parking lot of an apartment complex at 2002 San Sebastian Court. The driver was found to be wanted on a warrant out of Harris County for assault on a family member. During the arrest, the suspect fought with officers and was able to break free and re-enter the vehicle. The suspect then drove away, at some point striking Sgt. Kaila Sullivan with the vehicle. Sgt. Sullivan suffered injuries and EMS was called to the scene, where CPR was started. She was transported by ambulance to HCA Houston Clear Lake Hospital where she passed away. The suspect’s vehicle was located a short distance from the original traffic stop.”
Sullivan’s body was moved from the hospital to the local forensics center, as her wife, son, and members of her Sisters Eternal motorcycle club looked on, joined by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety, and fellow officers of the Nassau Bay Police Department. A large law-enforcement motorcade escorted Sullivan’s body.
A candlelight vigil was held on Wednesday evening, December 11, in front of the Nassau Bay City Hall.
The next afternoon, Nassau Bay Police Chief Tim Cromie announced that the suspect in the murder, Tavores Henderson, had been captured in the 4200 block of Heritage Trail in Houston.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office Major Mike Lee tweeted a picture of Henderson in handcuffs inside his holding cell. The handcuffs had belonged to Sgt. Sullivan. Tavores has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bail.
Helping the Sullivan Family
The family has requested that instead of flowers, donations may be made to the Harris County Benevolence Association. To donate, visit paypal.com/us/fundraiser/112574644767835624/charity/1476243.
For more information on Sergeant Kalia Sullivan’s December 18 funeral, visit jeterfuneralhome.com/current_services.php.